September 29, 2008

The Pipettes - We Are the Pipettes

Band/artist - The Pipettes
Genre(s) - Pop
Origin -
United Kingdom
Album - We Are the Pipettes
Year of release - 2006

If you enjoyed either of the two previous posts, maybe you should also take a listen at this. The Pipettes are the prettiest girls you've ever met (just so you know), and there's three of them to be exact, though I've understood there were some lineup changes recently.
They have a certain fondness for polka-dots that hasn't been seen since the sixties and right enough, they sing 60s girl group-influenced powerpop songs that make you want to sing and dance. The album's irresistably catchy, and the lyrics deal mostly with boys and discos even though they have quite an attitude sometimes. To make it even better, I've added a loose track of theirs, called I Like a Boy in Uniform, which together with Pull Shapes and the disk's title track is my most favourite. Listening only to negative music is boring and bad for your mental health so do yourself a favour and give it up for the Pipettes!
  1. We are the Pipettes
  2. Pull shapes
  3. Why did you stay?
  4. Dirty mind
  5. It hurts to see you dance so well
  6. July
  7. A winter's sky
  8. Your kisses are wasted on me
  9. Tell me what you want
  10. Because it's not love (but it's still a feeling)
  11. Sex
  12. One night stand
  13. ABC
  14. I like a boy in uniform (school uniform)
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September 28, 2008

Lycia - A Day in the Stark Corner

Band/artist - Lycia
Genre(s) - Ethereal, shoegaze, dark ambient
Origin - United States of America
Album - A day in the stark corner
Year of release - 1996

You could say that what Paysage d'Hiver is to black metal, Lycia is to the dreamy segment of underground gothic music: they have always been a touch more bleak and distant sounding than their peers. The band is often categorized as ethereal but it's in nothing like Black Tape for a Blue Girl or Dead Can Dance, relying much more on drawn-out electric guitar lines and keyboards over a repetitive drum computer than on acoustic or classical instruments. Mike VanPoortvleets yearning whispers bring a whole different meaning to the lyrics than an 'Angelic Voices' soprano would have done. Though certainly beautiful, Lycia's music is a detached, sedated, sorrowful affair overall, and A Day in the Stark Corner is not an album you listen to for fun. If you can recognize yourself in the eccentricity of sometimes enjoying negative feelings, then don't let this one slip.
  1. And through the smoke and nails
  2. Pygmallion
  3. The body electric
  4. Wide open spaces
  5. The morning breaks so cold and gray
  6. The remnants and the ruins
  7. Goddess of the green fields
  8. Everything is cold
  9. Sorrow is her name
  10. Daphne
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September 27, 2008

Paysage d'Hiver - Paysage d'hiver

Band/artist - Paysage d'Hiver
Genre(s) - Black metal, dark ambient
Origin - Switzerland
Album - Paysage d'Hiver
Year of release - 2000

What can be said about Paysage d'Hiver? It is one of the harshest, coldest black metal projects on earth, springing from the mind of one rather singular, reclusive fellow named Wintherr. In an interview he describes the process of creating his music as a highly spiritual, meditative thing and I find that this can be heard in the music itself. Paysage d'Hiver has a very unique sound in combining ultimate rawness and monotony with a hazy, otherworldly sense of atmospherics, using intangible (anti)melodies whirling slowly and quietly through a wall of guitar-made static noise and submerged blastbeats. Wintherr also plays violin, and at times uses it to give the music an extra layer. This self-titled three-track demo (still fifty-something minutes long), like all his releases, is very much inspired by dark ambient, so it is no wonder that at times the din subsides to make way for a bit of quiet introspection. And for the best, as it is a mesmerizing, but demanding experience altogether.
  1. Welt aus Eis (World of ice)
  2. Gefrorener Atem (Frozen breath)
  3. Der Weg (The way)
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September 26, 2008

La Ira de Dios - Hacia el Sol Rojo

Band/artist - La Ira de Dios
Genre(s) - Psychedelic rock
Origin - Lima, Peru
Album - Hacia el Sol Rojo
Year of release - 2005

When I think of Peru, the first things that come to mind are llamas, indigenous women wearing babies and bowler hats, and lost Inca cities hidden atop mountain summits. A pretty picture, and now we have a soundtrack to go with it. La Ira de Dios play a blend of rock that wavers from driving stoner pieces to very lazy, guitar-based soundscapes, often gradually merging into one another. There is something sultry and sensual in their music that is best explained by the Latin American continent's peculiar temperament. This gives even the louder bits a relaxing quality - I have found that this album is brilliant for listening during early morning train rides.
Only the vocals are not great but they are sparsely used and not so important for this type of music anyway.
  1. Perdido en el espacio
  2. A tres mil años blues
  3. Ruge
  4. La Señal
  5. Empirea
  6. Cabalgando en la oscuridad
  7. Hacia el sol rojo
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September 23, 2008

The Pogues - If I Should Fall from Grace with God

Band/artist - The Pogues
Genre(s) - Celtic folk
Origin - United Kingdom
Album - If I Should Fall from Grace with God
Year of release - 1988

The Pogues are a British band who had a huge influence on the development of the celtic punk scene due to their high-energy approach to Irish folk. Can't say I've ever listened to this or any whole Pogues' album in one go, always just pick my favourite tracks. So it's time for me to get a bit more in-depth with them as well. But the first 8 tracks on here are wonderful, that I do know, from the fast Bottle of Smoke to the cheerful Fiesta and the sensitive, beautiful Thousands are Sailing. But the track that steals the crown here is the first medley, a frantic hyperjig that drags you along like like a chariot. In moments like this it indeed sounds like acoustic, folked-up punk. You also gotta love Shane MacGowan's meticulous articulation, not to mention his well-groomed appearance. Truly one of my heroes.
  1. If I should fall from grace with God
  2. Turkish song of the damned
  3. Bottle of smoke
  4. Fairytale of New York
  5. Metropolis
  6. Thousands are sailing
  7. Fiesta
  8. Medley: Recruiting sergeant/Rocky road to Dublin/Galway races
  9. Medley: Streets of sorrow/Birmingham six
  10. Lullabye of London
  11. Sit down by the fire
  12. The broad majestic Shannon
  13. Worms
  14. Medley: the battle march
  15. The Irish rover
  16. Mountain dew
  17. Shanne Bradley
  18. Sketches of Spain
  19. South Australia
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September 21, 2008

Matisyahu - Live at Stubb's

- Matisyahu
Genre(s) - Reggae
Origin - United States of Zionism
Album - Live at Stubb's
Year of release - 2005

Jews. Always a fascinating and often hilarious subject. Here we have one of the most agressively Jewish individuals I have ever seen. After being born again as a follower of Hasidic judaism, one of the strictest movements within the entire religion, Matthew Miller adopted the Hebrew transcription of his first name as his stage name and decided to make a career in reggae. I must say he does so with style. Matisyahu's brand of reggae is eclectic and modern, and with the major rock and hiphop influences
it is not as lethargic and repetitive as the genre in general seems prone to. He has a good voice as well, though I'm not a big fan of the beat boxing, which luckily only occurs in one song (guess which!). His lyrics seem to deal with Judaic spirituality and personal empowerment, and I'm glad they don't seem to be motivated by political zionism - there are few subjects I can get as angry and emotional about as the occupation of Palestine and the brutal, merciless oppression that the Palestinian people face every day. I could cover a few blog pages more on this subject but maybe we'd better listen to this great concert by a reggae singer who just so happens to wear a long beard and black felt hat.
  1. Sea to sea
  2. Chop 'em down
  3. Warrior
  4. Lord raise me up
  5. King without a crown
  6. Aish Tamid
  7. Beat box
  8. Fire and heights
  9. Exaltation
  10. Refuge
  11. Heights
  12. Close my eyes
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September 17, 2008

Solefald - In Harmonia Universali

Band/artist - Solefald
Genre(s) - Experimental (black) metal
Origin - Norway
Album - In Harmonia Universali
Year of release - 2002

Hey Jim! You still there? Got a little something here you'll most probably enjoy. This is the closest to "blackened avant-metal" that I have and know of. Solefald's latest two albums were more viking metal-orientated, if quite unorthodox, but In Harmonia Universali (bought it on a whim in Italy once, expecting something, uh, quite different) is the epitome of only the most progressive avant-garde experimental post-black metal. Somehow it has a very Renaissance-like feel to it even though the sound is quite modern: very tight playing style, with lots of heavy, angular palm-muted guitars and catchy, if unexpected hooks. A large role is reserved for the very well-sung clean vocals, as well as for such ungrim instruments like the grand piano, the saxophone and (oh, joy!) a genuine Hammond organ. It's all in all more avant-garde than it is blackened, but without getting cluttered up in weirdness for the sake of weirdness. Every song has its own mood and its strong points, and the album harbours many surprises and secrets that you really should be discovering on your own. So get to it!
  1. Nutrisco et extinguo
  2. Mont Blanc providence crow
  3. Christiania (Edvard Munch commemoration)
  4. Epictetus and irreversibility
  5. Dionysify this night of spring
  6. Red music diabolos
  7. Buy my sperm
  8. Fraternité de la grande lumière
  9. The liberation of destiny
  10. Sonnenuntergang im weltraum
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September 16, 2008

Peste Noire - Macabre Transcendance

Band/artist - Peste Noire
Genre(s) - Black metal
Origin - France
Album - Macabre Transcendance
Year of release - 2002

This is not my favourite Peste Noire release - La Sanie des Siècles is, but because that one's fairly well-known by now, I decided to upload an oldie. Macabre Transcendance is the band's second demo, and two of its tracks (Le Mort Joyeux and Spleen) made it to the aforementioned album. I think I even like the originals better, despite/because they're a good deal rawer. On the whole, at this early point in the band's history, the music already has those characteristic acoustic parts, guitar soloes and insane shrieks featured on their later material, but that were so lacking on their latest album Folkfuck Folie. A major point of critique about this demo concerns the strange clicking noises in the last two songs, as if the drummer is hitting his sticks together at irregular intervals. This is likely a fault in the production and not of the MP3s because I checked other versions as well. Maybe it's just for kult cred, in which case it's twice as lame. But anyway, here's some great and insane raw black metal with sometimes a gentle touch. ^-^
  1. Intro
  2. Le mort joyeux ([the] cheerful Death)
  3. 666 millions d'esclaves et de déchets (666 millions of slaves and waste material)
  4. Spleen
  5. J'éjaculerai sur vos décombres fumants (I will ejaculate on your smoking remains)
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September 14, 2008

Jesus could wake the dead, Jesus could fly!

Band/artist - Robyn Hitchcock
Genre(s) - Singer-songwriter, folk
Origin - United Kingdom (London)
Album - my own compilation for you!
Year of release - Never actually released

Robyn Hitchcock? Who the fuck is Robyn Hitchcock? Don't you just mean Alfred Hitchcock? Nope. Robyn Hitchcock is a very British, very strange kind of fellow, and by now rather old in that sexy kind of way. He's a multi-instrumental musican and singer, as well as a painter, a sculptor, and a poet - check Museum Hitchcock. In all arts that he dabbles in, he's just as quirky, but I like his music best (because you can hear it). Since he left the Soft Boys in the early 80s he's been releasing solo-albums in a rapid fashion. Roughly alternating between mostly-acoustic albums and electric albums with a backing band like the Egyptians or more lately the Venus 3, he's got such a huge back catalog that I found myself forced to collect the best songs and make a package of my own for you. So the songs vary from folkish to rockish, sometimes manic, sometimes fragile, but all are awesome cause I picked them myself.
  1. My wife and my dead wife
  2. The man with the lightbulb head
  3. Driving aloud (radio storm)
  4. Beautiful queen
  5. The yip song
  6. Alright yeah (in Swedish)
  7. Each of her silver wands
  8. Madonna of the wasps
  9. Uncorrected personality traits
  10. Adventure rocketship
  11. The devil's radio
  12. So you think you're in love
  13. Balloon man
  14. A globe of frogs
  15. One long pair of eyes
  16. Goodnight I say
  17. Nocturne (demise)
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Sixpence None the Richer - Divine Discontent

Band/artist - Sixpence None the Richer
Genre(s) - Pop
Origin - United States of America (Nashville, Tennessee!)
Album - Divine Discontent
Year of release - 2002

Today I awoke to a wonderful sunday morning. The sun was shining from a bright blue sky and all Leiden's church bells were ringing. I knew I just had to upload something sunny and Christian. The choice - not that there was much choice - fell upon Divine Discontent by Sixpence None the Richer. The album title seems much more moody than the music really is. Sixpence play light, graceful, oh so cozy guitar pop with the beautiful vocals of Leigh Nash. You might know them from their earlier single and minor hit, Kiss Me. If that song would have been on this release, preferably instead of the somewhat annoying Melody of You, the album would have been perfect. As is, it's got plenty of highlights like Tonight, Waiting on the Sun and the slightly darker Paralyzed to make up for it. Also you won't have to be afraid or hoping for an orgy of Jesus-praisin' and Bible-thumpin': the lyrics convey some sense of relying on a guiding entity, but not much more. Beautiful morning music, 's all.
  1. Breathe your name
  2. Tonight
  3. Down and out of time
  4. Don't dream it's over
  5. Waiting on the sun
  6. Still burning
  7. Melody of you
  8. Paralyzed
  9. I've been waiting
  10. Eyes wide open
  11. Dizzy
  12. Tension is a passing note
  13. A million parachutes
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September 10, 2008

Dead Kennedys - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables

Band/artist - Dead Kennedys
Genre(s) - Punk
Origin - United States of America
Album - Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Year of release - 1980

I don't know much about punk but I do know that this album kills. It is about the only pure, old-school punk album that I fully enjoy. Why? Maybe it's the shitload of much-too-awesome-for-punk riffs, maybe it's the hilarious but merciless social commentary (yes, I do like social commentary) that constuitute the lyrics, maybe it's Jello's demented air-raid alarm of a voice. But what really sets the Kennedys' debut apart from its peers is that Fresh Fruit consists of relatively well-crafted songs with a large amount of melody. This is what makes tracks like Kill the Poor, Chemical Warfare, California über Alles, and Holiday in Cambodia so rememberable. I can imagine this hit the punk scene with the impact and accuracy of a cruise missile back in 1980, and they weren't even wearing footlong mohawks.
  1. Kill the poor
  2. Forward to death
  3. When ya get drafted
  4. Let's lynch the landlord
  5. Drug me
  6. Your emotions
  7. Chemical Warfare
  8. California über alles
  9. I kill children
  10. Stealing people's mail
  11. Funland at the beach
  12. Ill in the head
  13. Holiday in Cambodia
  14. Viva Las Vegas
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September 8, 2008

The Sisters of Mercy - First and Last and Always

Band/artist - The Sisters of Mercy
Genre(s) - Gothic rock
Origin - United Kingdom
Album - First and Last and Always
Year of release - 1985

The eighties have never been my favourite musical decade, and they never will be. Simplicstic, horridly fake-sounding drum patterns, utterly static song structures, plastic keyboard ditties and a rotten attitude spoil things for me quickly. Music for/by the instant gratification generation. Every once in a while, however, a good artist from those times pops up, demanding the credit it's due. I guess this must be having its effect on me: I no longer even cringe when Toto comes up on the classic rock station. But back to the album at hand. The title is trying to confuse me but First and Last and Always is definitely the Sisters' first album, not their last. It doesn't have the band's mindblowing anthem This Corrosion but as an album it holds together better than Floodlands which has a lot of boring moments. Something I can't explain is how the Sisters of Mercy incorporate all the negative traits of 80s rock but somehow manage to create a blend of them that transcends its faults. The melodies are strong, it's both dark and catchy, and Andrew's vocals are compelling. I could listen to this all day long.
  1. Black planet
  2. Walk away
  3. No time to cry
  4. A rock and a hard place
  5. Marian
  6. First and last and always
  7. Possession
  8. Nine while nine
  9. Amphetamine logic
  10. Some kind of stranger
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September 7, 2008

De Hardheid - De nodige hardheid

- De Hardheid
Genre(s) - Ska, ska-punk
Origin - Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Album - De Nodige Hardheid
Year of release - 2003

Something fun from the mother soil. De Hardheid (The Hardness) are a ska(-punk) band from the god-awful city of Amsterdam. This isn't their fault so let's not attack them on it. They're not quite as awesome as Ska-P but that's no fair comparison anyway; as an individual band they're plenty awesome. Sing their lyrics in their native tongue as well, look at society with a critical eye, etc. The difference is that with De Hardheid, this translates into wry, cynical satire on modern-day western society, instead of purely political statements. To me
the lyrics are the most entertaining aspect of De Nodige Hardheid (The Necessary Hardness). Personally I think our language is both illogical and blunt, but the band has a lot of dark, biting humour. The Track 't Vrouwtje for instance is about a housewife whose husband never wants to have secks anymore because he just wants to drink beer and watch tv, so she cuts off his penis and balls in revenge. Nice! Every other song on the album is about being lazy, drinking beer or things and people that are annoying. The ska is, well, ska-like. With a bit of punk-like punk sprinkled here and there. There are some more mediocre songs, and even those got as nice a groove as any ska is supposed to have, but I can't help but compare them to Ska-P, which they just can't match even at their best moments. It's unfair, they deserve a more objective reviewer.
  1. Snooze (as in the alarmclock function)
  2. 15 piek (15 quid/bucks)
  3. Oh nee (Oh no)
  4. Luie reet (Lazy ass)
  5. Beste vriend (Best friend)
  6. Klootzak (Asshole)
  7. Frisdrank (Fizzy drinks)
  8. Bekhouwe (STFU)
  9. 't Vrouwtje (The wifey)
  10. Buurman (Guy next door)
  11. Kutmuziek (Shitty music - lit. "cunt music" ^_^)
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September 6, 2008

Reclaiming the Instaweb.

Oh fucking hell yes. I finally have a connection to thee internet again from my own place so I'll be able to share music more often than just a couple albums every one or two weekends. There's still a lot of stuff I want you all to hear so I should get to it right away. However, it's rarely been as busy as the last few weeks so don't think too much of it, an album a day like I used to do would not be realistic. But it's a start, right?